Saturday, December 1, 2012

Italians tame the Birds of Prey

Christof on the top of a very Norse podium.

The Birds of Prey is known as one of the most difficult slopes for speed races in the WC because of its unique mix of flat parts and the famous steep and its waves. Because of the lack of snow and therefore, the bigger jumps, the course setter decided to try and slow down the course.
Sadly, despite its success in making the jumps relatively easier, one guy still got injured: Tobias Stechert from Germany was one of the first runners on course and he was skiing a very convincing run until he finished long in one of the trasverses set on the steep and in the attempt of recovering from that mistake he got his knee's ligaments torn.
After the long break it needed to take the German safely away from the course, Austrian Georg Streitberger with bib number 6 and immediatly after Peter Fill scored two very solid runs and started to lead the race.
Italian Innerhofer, despite the low number, was reported to be on a very good condition and he didn't fail to prove the rumors right. He found a very good feeling with his skis in the gliding part on top and then painted amazing lines down the steep middle part of the Beaver Creek's course.
None seemed to be able to ski anywhere close to the Italian until Kjetil Jansrud with bib 14 showed a great feeling with the snow and the course and he was making up the gap he had from Christof and seemed set to better the Italian time, but a sudden and unexpected mistake on one of the last waves and that cost him the chance of taking the lead - he would finish 3rd eventually.
The big favourite for the race was surely Svindal, the Norse came here with the impressive wins in Lake Louise last weekend and he indeed started to ski a great run by exploiting his great power even on the more technical passages. He kept staying very close to Innerhofer throughtout the course, but by the end as like as his team-mate a mistake cost him the chance of winning the race, finishing incredibly close, but still 2nd.
The top 5 finishers were completed by Austrian surprise Florian Scheiber, that could finish 4th with a big as high as 42! 5th placement for another Italian, Dominik Paris.

Marsaglia makes a win out his first podium

Matteo Marsaglia had shown bright sparkles of talent in the past few years, but so far he had never menaged to score a run errorless or worth of his abilities. In a race that again was sadly signed by another crash and the injury of a racer in the early runs (Austrian hope Max Franz lost consciousness on the crash, but apparently he's already well), out of the first names, only Italian Werner Hell had done an errorless run -he would finish 5th-, as the tricks set by the course-setter were many and it was very hard to find the right lines and the right attitude towards such a difficult slope.
Then it was Austrian Reichelt's turn and he didn't let the thought of his friend's injury get into his mind and found the right motivation and corague to attack this slope, probably angry for a good result after the bad ones of the last speed races. Reichelt took the lead over the Italian and kept his place on top for a few more runners, as long as another Italian, Matteo Marsaglia, took the lead over him. Matteo was coming from a couple of very convincing results in GS and he showed his great form by looking effortlessly painting lines, rahter than skiing down an iced hill.
If being ahead of such an inspired Reichelt wasn't enough of a proof of the greatness of his run, one by one all the specialists of the discipline started to fall behind his back whenever they crossed the finishline.
Once again the Norwegian team mated looked ready to trouble the Italian leadership, but in some sort of re-happening of yesterday's plot both Jansrud and Svindal couldn't but make a mistake that would cost them too much for the win: Kjetil this time not even making it to the podium, only 6th, whilst Aksel-Lund didn't change his placement of the day before, ending up 2nd.
Italian Peter Fill wanted to leave his sign on the race too and made a promising start by scoring the best time in the upper part, but due to a bad line-choice he went out right away.
4th in the end was Ted Ligety, who seemed to have worked hard on the discipline, by proving his Lake Louise's great placement wasn't a fluke and this run can't but put him the heavy favourite target for tomorrow's GS.

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